One of our most treasured possessions and an intrinsic presence in our hospital is currently on a journey. Arts in Hospital are delighted to announce that we are sharing this important part of our collection by loaning it to a very reputable sculpture museum in Bremen, Germany.
The Gerhard Marcks Haus is a museum for modern and contemporary sculpture, with national and international recognition. For the last 40 years they have been developing the concept of consciously combining modern and traditional art in their exhibitions, while seeking to explore the interaction between figure, form and space.
The latest of these is entitled Elisabeth Frink: Man is an Animal which looks at Frink’s work in the context of a much wider sculptural tradition. Surprisingly, it is only the second solo exhibition of Frink’s work in mainland Europe. The Gerhard Marcks Haus has been working on this exhibition for many years and had liaised with Frink’s late son Lin Jammet, who was very keen for the exhibition to happen. Lin left a small bequest of original prints and drawings to Bremen to support the proposed exhibition and to ensure that some of his mother’s work went into a major European art collection.
Dame Elisabeth Frink (1930 - 1993) ranks among the major sculptors working in the second half of the 20th century. The Dog was donated to us by the artist herself, a former patron, nearly 30 years ago at the very beginnings of Arts in Hospital and we are proud to be able to contribute to the education of a new audience by loaning it in this way. Such collaborations help signify that Dorset and Dorchester continue to play a significant part in Frink’s artistic legacy and highlight the importance of our hospital’s outstanding art collection on an international level. The exhibition will tour to Museum Beelden aan Zee, The Hague, Holland and the Dog will return to us in September 2021.
In the meantime we will have Ponyrider (Marcks 1967) to keep us company, generously lent to us for the duration of this period. Gerhard Marcks (1889 - 1981) is one of the most important German sculptors of the 20th century. The work is similar to our dog in style and size and is reminiscent of Frink’s work Horse and Rider.
Born in Thurlow, Suffolk, Frink studied at the Guildford School of Art (1946–1949) and at Chelsea School of Art (1949–1953). She was part of a post war group of British sculptors, dubbed the Geometry of Fear school - that included Reg Butler, Bernard Meadows, Kenneth Armitage and Eduardo Paolozzi. Her personal lodestar, if she had one, was always Alberto Giacometti. Frink’s subject matter included men, birds, dogs, horses and religious motifs, but very seldom any female forms. Although she made many drawings and prints, she is best known for her bronze outdoor sculpture, which has a distinctive cut and worked surface like this one. This is created by her adding plaster to an armature, which she then worked back into with a chisel, whereas most sculptors work directly with modelled clay which is easier to shape.
She came to live at Woolland House in Dorset with her husband Alex Csaky in 1976 where she established her final studio and lived until her death in 1996. She said "We wanted to move out of the city and into the country again. We eventually found the house in Dorset. This particular place influences my work directly because it is in a landscape I enjoy and feel uncluttered in, and because landscape has become essential to my work. Living in the country means being nearer the elements, the climate and the changes of the seasons - it is a constant source of ideas. "
She donated The Dog to the Hospital when it was built in 1987 and was a Founder Patron of Arts in Hospital. Chris Tipping, designed the courtyard pavoir, the same artist who has designed the patterns in the linoleum in the corridors which are based on the fossils of the Jurassic Coast.
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We aim to enhance the healing environment for patients, visitors and staff here at Dorset County Hospital, through visual art, performance and music. Please help us to continue and expand our programme by donating. Your donations can be used to commission and purchase new artwork to brighten up the hospital or to fund new participatory projects with professional artists and musicians.